When photos emerged on Wednesday evening of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface, political leaders from across Canada took the opportunity to condemn the act. While Andrew Scheer suggested Trudeau was not fit to lead the country, and Jagmeet Singh focused on Canadians who may have been hurt by the images, PPC leader Maxime Bernier took a slightly different approach. Rather than using the images to speak about racism, Bernier took aim at Canada’s drag queens, asking why blackface is considered wrong, while drag is celebrated.
Maxime Bernier is often referred to as one of the most right-wing figures ever seen in Canadian politics, and his latest tweets prove that he is definitely not concerned about hurting anybody’s feelings.
The People’s Party of Canada leader first tweeted his response to Trudeau’s blackface images on Wednesday evening, posting a tweet that said, “I’m not going to accuse Justin Trudeau of being a racist.” Although he went on to accuse the Liberal leader of hypocrisy, Bernier made no mention of the seriousness of the act of using blackface.
In fact, subsequent tweets would suggest that Bernier may not actually recognize blackface as a racist act at all, going on to tweet, “Reasonable people should calm down and stop calling all those they disagree with racists and white supremacists.”
Bernier added, “Let’s stop playing the politically correct game. Leave this to the Far Left crazies. Let’s debate important issues instead.”
If this wasn’t enough of a "yikes!" moment, Bernier’s tweets about the blackface debacle gradually got more controversial. By Friday morning, Bernier had retweeted a comment from one Twitter user, which read, “Funny how blackface is about the worst thing you can do because it mocks blacks, but drag queens mocking women are the darlings of society and we're told they are paying homage to women. Uh huh. Just saying…”
Responding to the tweet personally, Bernier went on to add, “That’s exactly the kind of hypocrisy and twisted logic I denounced back in February, and all the leftist media went ballistic.”
The tweet included a photo that showed an X mark next to the words, “blackface", "whites with dreadlocks”, and “wearing clothes from another ethnic group,” and a tick mark next to “men wearing female dress and makeup.”
Finally, Bernier went on to make an additional comment about Canada’s “politically correct” society. On Friday morning, he tweeted the results of a poll that suggested the majority of Canadians think that political correctness has gone too far.
Bernier went on to retweet an old tweet of his own, that said, “I hereby officially declare the death of political correctness in Canada.” Adding this morning, “Right time to RT this.”
This is not the first time Bernier has been accused of making controversial comments and endorsing racism. In the past, Bernier has been accused of having anti-immigrant views, and accommodating white supremacists in his party.
Bernier has also been criticized for his rejection of human-caused climate change, and more recently, his attack on 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who he called “mentally unstable.”
In fact, Bernier's views have been considered so controversial that he was initially excluded from the two official leaders’ debates in October, although he has since been invited to attend.
Canadians will likely hear more from Maxime Bernier on October 7 (English) and October 10 (French), when he will face off against Trudeau, Scheer, Singh, May, and Blanchet in the official federal leaders’ debates.
Canadians will have their final say at the polls on October 21.